Time to look back and reflect on how the year which is about to end developed. Brief recap of my 2020. (1)
If I had to pick three personal and positive memories from this 2020 they would be:
1. Skiing together with my daughter Andrea down some pistes (slopes) for the first time (in Vars, Haute-Alpes, Southeastern France). She was 6 years old at the time and had spent the least years’ skiing holidays in the piou piou kids’ garden. This year she obtained her ourson medal (following the French ESF system).
2. Seeing my son David learning to swim without the help of armbands. He turned 4 years in early April, and by mid May we set up the pool. Early on the swimming season he insisted on imitating his sister, who already knew how to swim, until he managed to do it on his own. Since then we enjoyed dozens of days of swimming together.
3. Flying with the family for a weekend excursion to Avignon.
Those were my most memorable moments, but as you can imagine this year 2020 was also a messy and uncertain one for us, to some extent. Indeed, some of the other good things of the year were those that didn’t happen: no one from our family or our most immediate relatives got infected with coronavirus nor had to go through hospitalization; despite of the bad turn taken by international travel, the aerospace industry and the generalized job cuts, we are all still working.
Not everyone was that lucky. In 2020 I lost an aunt and a close former work colleague. Other colleagues and friends lost relatives during the past twelve months, we have known dozens of cases going through illnesses (covid and others) in the past months. My thoughts are also with them today.
On a lower level, the fact of living abroad far from either of our families made that the lock downs and travel restrictions allowed us to only see my siblings or parents-in-law from Christmas to Christmas, or my sister-in-law and parents in summer for a short period of time.
On the contrary, the lock downs made us spend much more time with the kids. Having schools closed from mid March to end May was tough, a real balancing act. But it gave us the opportunity to see first hand the kids’ growth: David starting to pick up English or counting; Andrea drastically improving her reading, writing, maths and drawing.
Like most people we had to cancel many activities (including family visits and a couple of friends had to cancel their weddings). However, early on we switched to not planning much and opted for a quiet and laid back year.
Flying: Other than the above mentioned excursion, I only flew 9 flying hours, including 14 take offs and landings, the least in the last 9 years (we could not fly for months as a consequence of the emergency measures taken by the state and our aeroclub). And only my friend Javier flew for the first time with me at the controls this year.
Running: I completed one single race, the half marathon of Blagnac on March 1st (which already felt awkward as that same day was supposed to take place the half marathon of Paris but that one was cancelled). Since then, the marathon of Madrid was canceled twice, the Ronde des Foies Gras, as well. I didn’t subscribe to any other race. And this year I barely ran above 750km, the least in the last 10 years, far below the average of +1,900km per year from 2011 to 2016. A thing to improve in the 2021.
Blogging: This year in February was the 10th anniversary of the blog, but I didn’t manage to write much; only 7 blog posts in 2020. The blog received just above 26,000 visits in 2020 (the least since 2012) and nearly 430,000 since I started it in 2010.
Travelling: We didn’t travel a lot this year, but still we saw a few new and old places: Embrun, Vars, Vaison-la-Romaine, Lavaur, La Halle de la machine, L’Envol des Pionniers, Cuellar, Chartres, Oradur sur Glane, Rocroi, Rijswick, Kijkduin, Wijchen, Amiens, Tours, Madrid, some of the latest A380 convoy…
Reading: With so much time at home due to lock downs and cancelled plans, I found plenty of time to read and reading I did. In the end I completed 37 books and read above 13,400 pages (more than ever). For the detailed list of books, see the post I wrote about my 2020 reading list with a brief description of each book.
Investing: one of Buffett’s quotes is “opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble“. This 2020 was one of those years that presented opportunities and, despite of that, we didn’t invest much in 2020; on the contrary, we saw how having many eggs in the same basket compounds the uncertainty in testing times, as to the jobs’ uncertainty we added the steep dive of our employer’s stock price of which we own shares. As of today, it has recovered half of what it lost, but it was a good reminder.
NGOs support: Since we purchased our house in 2017, we had slowed down the donations to different NGOs that we had been supporting for years. We re started with some of them at the end of this 2020. With the economy’s dire prospect for the coming months many will require support, it will also be a time to spend.
Now it’s time to rest, celebrate with the family and hope for the best in 2021. This year there will be no running the San Silvestre Vallecana in Madrid with tens of thousands of other runners in the evening of this December 31st, but a lonely 10km run just my brother and me in our village. The only planned trips we have for 2021 are another skiing week in Vars and a booked weekend in autumn to celebrate my in-laws anniversary, let’s cross fingers so that we can accomplish those two plans.
Other than that, my wishes for 2021 are simple and basic: that the pandemic gets controlled in a few months, that the flying traffic recovers and the aerospace industry starts to get stabilized, and that the general public and economy can get to their normal lives.
I wish you the best for 2021, enjoy it!